Yola (singer)

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Yola singing with guitar.jpg
Yola performing in 2017
Background information
Birth nameYolanda Quartey
Also known as
  • Yola Carter
  • Yola
OriginBristol, England
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active2003–present
Associated acts

Yola (born Yolanda Quartey; 1983)[2] is a Grammy nominated English musician, singer and songwriter from Bristol, England. She has also gone by the name Yola Carter. She became the lead singer of the band Phantom Limb, who released their first album in 2010.[3] She has sung backing vocals for numerous artists including Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers and Iggy Azalea. Yola received four nominations at the 62nd Grammy Awards, including the all-genre Best New Artist category.

Early and personal life[edit]

Her family was poor and banned music when she was young.[4][5]


Yola released her first solo EP, Orphan Offering, in 2016. In February 2019, she released her debut album Walk Through Fire on Dan Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound label, to much acclaim.[2][6][7] The album title references both a fire which damaged Yola's home and an abusive relationship from which she escaped.[8] AllMusic called the album "an extraordinary record, one designed to be part of a grand musical tradition, and it contains enough emotion and imagination to earn its place within that lineage."[9] Brittney McKenna of NPR Music's First Listen declared, "It's the work of an artist sure to stun audiences for years to come."[10] The Wall Street Journal stated, "The album is an introduction to a seasoned, major vocalist that stands to be remembered as a breakthrough."[11]

Walk Through Fire was written, recorded and produced at Dan Auerbach's Easy Eye Studio in Nashville. Auerbach produced the record and assembled an all-star cast for its creation.[12] Most of the songwriting was a collaboration of Yola and Auerbach with contributions from Bobby Wood, Pat McLaughlin and Dan Penn. The team of studio musicians included bassist Dave Roe, harmonica player Charlie McCoy along with former members of the Memphis Boys drummer Gene Crisman and Wood on piano. Additional vocals were contributed by Vince Gill, Molly Tuttle, Ronnie McCoury and Stuart Duncan.[10] The album was recorded and engineered by M. Allen Parker. Auerbach and Parker also mixed the project.[13]

On 23 March 2019 Yola made her American television debut on CBS This Morning‘s Saturday Sessions segment, where she played selections from Walk Through Fire.[14] She, alongside Sheryl Crow, contributed to two tracks on the debut album by The Highwomen.

Yola made a splash at the Newport Folk Festival 2019 with Rolling Stone proclaiming, "Yola became the single most sought-after voice at this year’s festival. She played a triumphant side-stage show, served as an unofficial member of The Highwomen, and added her own vocals to performances by everyone from Dolly Parton to Dawes, who let the fast-rising singer take over for the entirety of their 2009 song “When You Call My Name.”[15] According to Glide Magazine, "People came from far and wide to hear Yola sing, either because they were enchanted by her excellent release from earlier this year Walk Through Fire, or because word of mouth had reached them that this was not to be missed."[16]

Walk Through Fire generated three Grammy Award nominations. The album was nominated for Best Americana Album and the track "Faraway Look" was nominated for Best American Roots Song and Best American Roots Performance. Additionally, Yola was nominated for Best New Artist.[17]



with Phantom Limb

  • Phantom Limb (self titled debut, 2008)
  • Phantom Limb (reissued October 2009)
  • Live in Bristol (Released 2009)
  • The Pines (Released February 2012)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Award Nominated work Result Ref.
2017 UK Americana Awards UK Artist of the Year Yola Won
2019 Americana Music Honors & Awards Emerging Artist of the Year Nominated [18]
Album of the Year Walk Through Fire Nominated
2020 62nd Grammy Awards Best New Artist Herself Pending
Best Americana Album Walk Through Fire Pending
Best American Roots Performance Faraway Look Pending
Best American Roots Song Pending


  1. ^ Hall, Kristin M. (4 March 2019). "Dolly-loving Brit Yola explores fusion of country and soul". AP News. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Bernstein, Jonathan; Bernstein, Jonathan (19 January 2019). "Yola's Fight for Roots-Rock Freedom". Rolling Stone.
  3. ^ "The Diary of Yolanda Quartey". The Journal of Music.
  4. ^ "Grammy nominee's mum 'banned her from music'". 21 November 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Yola's Vocals and Songwriting Are Showcased on Her Strong Debut 'Walk Through Fire'". PopMatters. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  6. ^ John, Emma (21 February 2019). "Yola: from down and out in London to Nashville's country soul star". The Guardian.
  7. ^ Mazor, Barry (25 February 2019). "'Walk Through Fire' by Yola Review: Across the Great Divide". The Wall Street Journal.
  8. ^ "On Her Mighty Debut, Yola Pushes Through To 'Walk Through Fire'". NPR. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Walk Through Fire – Yola – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b "On Her Mighty Debut, Yola Pushes Through To 'Walk Through Fire'". NPR.org.
  11. ^ Mazor, Barry. "'Walk Through Fire' by Yola Review: Across the Great Divide". WSJ.
  12. ^ Liptak, Carena. "Story Behind the Song: Yola, 'Ride Out in the Country'". The Boot.
  14. ^ Kaplan, Ilana; Kaplan, Ilana (23 March 2019). "Watch Yola Showcase Debut LP on 'CBS This Morning'".
  15. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-live-reviews/newport-folk-fest-2019-recap-864579/
  16. ^ https://glidemagazine.com/229257/newport-folk-festival-day-1-showcases-female-prowess-with-yola-kacey-musgraves-highwomen-more-festival-recap/
  17. ^ https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2020-grammy-awards-complete-nominees-list
  18. ^ Freeman, Jon; Freeman, Jon (14 May 2019). "Americana Awards Nominations 2019: Women Lead the Way".

External links[edit]